The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, by Ayana Mathis.
Read my review, and find out how to win yourself a copy of this fabulous book.
Oprah said of this book, ‘I can’t remember when I read anything that moved me quite this way, besides Toni Morrison.’
‘When Hattie clambered from a train, her skirt still hemmed with Georgia mud and the dream of Philadelphia sitting round as a marble in her mouth, she couldn’t guess that two years later, aged sixteen, she’d be fighting to keep her baby twins alive.
Saddled with a husband who will bring her nothing but disappointment, she raises nine children with grit and monumental courage, but no tenderness. She knows the world will not be kind to them and wants to prepare them as best she can. As her sons and daughters buck against their fates, she feels every one of their triumphs and heartbreaks, for they are all bound together.
A searing portrait of twentieth century America told through the story of an unforgettable family, a transfixing drama of bitterness and love and a ferocious vision of humanity at its rawest; The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is a debut of extraordinary distinction.’
I really enjoyed this novel, although it can be gritty, and tough to get through in parts, especially as a mother. The novel spans from 1925 to 1980 in America, and is set out almost like a collection of short stories, each chapter an in depth, but brief look at each of ‘Hattie’s’ 11 children, and one of her grandchildren. The book starts with 16 year old Hattie, the books main character, losing her twin babies to Pneumonia, the heartbreak from that colours the rest of her life, and the lives of her many offspring.
The stories of each colourful character are expertly interwoven, to tell an extraordinary tale, of a mother’s ‘tough love’, a harsh kind of love she shows her children, in order that they might survive the harsh realities of the world they live in. I think this book points out that any character trait can be either a strength or a weakness, depending on how you are taught to use it in the world. Find out for yourself how Hattie’s offspring dealt with the hands they were given. A must read.
Ayana Mathis was born in Philadelphia to a long line of formidable women. As an only child, a quirky and overactive imagination was inevitable, and at the age of eight she penned her first collection of short stories about a girl named Blue who came to a bad end in a tree house.
Many years passed before she rediscovered that focus and dedication – in the meantime Ayana worked as a waitress, a freelance researcher, a magazine journalist, and spent five years living in Italy.
In 2011 she received an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop and is a recipient of a Michener-Copernicus Fellowship. She currently lives in Brooklyn (she knows that lots of other writers live in Brooklyn, but she lived there first.) The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is her first novel.
You can order your own copy of this wonderful novel from Mighty Ape HERE.
THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.
Winner: KELLY ARMSTRONG – Congrats Kelly, please email Ceara at firstname.lastname@example.org with you address details.
The lovely folks at Random House New Zealand have kindly given LDM a copy of this remarkable book to give away. To enter the draw to win a copy, simply comment below (please use your full name if possible). Don’t forget to like, and share our competition post for this on our Facebook page. Competition ends Tuesday 26th February, at 5pm. The winner will be announced on the website later that evening.
Open to NZ and Australia Residents.